Maryland women’s basketball player Angel Reese excels on the court and uses music as motivation

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In the mid to late 2000s, on Sunday mornings, Maryland women’s basketball hotshot Angel Reese would hear a particular kind of music signaling that it was time for her to start cleaning up: the R&B.

Reese’s mother and namesake, Angel Reese, played iconic hits from Keyshia Cole and Mariah Carey. The St. Frances product developed a love for music as she and her younger brother Julian Reese, who is a freshman on the Maryland men’s basketball team, helped clean the house on the soundtracks .

“That’s where I pulled it from,” Reese said. “When it’s cleaning on Sunday, she’d turn on the music and you’d already know it’s time to clean up.”

While arranging her bedroom and cleaning the bathroom, Reese did so while listening to Cole’s 2009 hit song “Heaven Sent” and Carey’s popular “Shake It Off.”

Although the self-proclaimed 6-foot-3 “big guard” may have a different playlist these days, she still uses the music to motivate herself while cleaning up her dorm and before entering the field. Reese will also use the lyrics as captions for photos on social media.

Now, as she cleans out her dorm in College Park, Reese listens to R&B artists Summer Walker and Jhene Aiko.

With a smile as bright as his future, Reese also listens to the lyrics to Chicago hip-hop artist Polo G’s 2019 motivational track “Chosen 1.” One line that sticks out to him from this track is “I flex with no regrets because they show me no sympathy.”

She also finds meaning in Atlanta artists Young Thug and Gunna’s 2021 song “Recognize Real.” Reese found inspiration in the lyrics “I had to gamble my life, roll the dice, my name has a price, but speak to me kindly.”

The talented southpaw is proud of her name, especially her nickname “Big Ticket”. She got the nickname in Baltimore because she was the player everyone craved to see play.

Fast forward to today, Reese has been performing like the star she was meant to be since joining the program as a five-star rookie ahead of the 2020-21 season. She took a big leap forward as a sophomore, leading Maryland with 17.5 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.

As the highest-ranked incoming Terp in program history, Reese is still the player people will be watching when she steps onto the court. But before the Terps star shows what she can do on the floor, she gets into the mood with the music.

While preparing to face the next opponent on the Maryland schedule, the First Team All-Big Ten and AP Third Team All-American selection has a unique setup in how they listen to the rhythmic beats and lyrics that drive them.

Reese inserts his AirPods Pros first, then places his black Beats By Dre wireless studio headphones directly over his ears to filter out outside noise and enjoy his music.

“I didn’t know you could play them at the same time,” Reese admitted jokingly, referring to his AirPods-headphone combination. “So I literally hear nothing but my music.”

However, Reese doesn’t keep all the music to herself.

Junior guard Ashley Owusu and graduate forward Chloe Bibby have seen her love for music, especially in the locker room, as she is unofficially the team’s DJ.

“Angel usually plays music in the locker room and I like that,” Owusu said. “We just manage.”

Even his teammates who don’t use music as part of their pregame rituals appreciate it when Reese plays songs for the team in the locker room.

“I don’t really listen to music before games, but I know Angel and Faith [Masonius] usually get the AUX cord and get a good mix,” said graduate forward Chloe Bibby.


In addition to cleaning his dorm room, Reese was notable for cleaning the boards. This season, she has recorded 17 double-doubles and ranks second in the nation in offensive rebounds with 5.5 per game.

Reese has a unique skill set, with the ability to hold all five positions and can play with or without the basketball mostly in his hands, which features pink nail polish that stands out just as much as his skills on the court.

“I’m a great guard who can play all five positions, can guard all five positions,” Reese said.

After her first season was limited by a foot injury, Reese has consistently shown why she is one of the best players in the country.

But before you head to the Xfinity Center or an opposing gym, you’ll see Reese’s Beats By Dre headphones above her head as she listens to her current playlist.

Reese’s pre-game playlist includes:

  • Lil Baby & Lil Durk – “Okay”
  • Gunna – “push P”
  • Young Thug feat. Gunna – “Recognize the real”
  • Young Thug – “Road Rage”
  • Kodak Black – “Super Gremlin”
  • King Von featuring 21 Savage – “Don’t Play That”
  • Rylo Rodriguez – “Free Me”
  • Nicki Minaj with Lil Baby – “Do We Have a Problem?”
  • Gunna – “25k jacket”
  • NoCap – “Unwanted Lifestyle”
  • Gunna – “live wild”

Mars is here and no doubt Reese’s music will continue to be important to her as she seeks to bring a national championship back to College Park for the first time since 2006.

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